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Let's take a look at how you can best use credit cards to book Airbnb stays.
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Airbnb has become one of the most popular options for travelers whether visiting remote locations or big cities around the world. Unsurprisingly, we’re often asked about whether there’s an Airbnb credit card and, if not, which credit cards are best for booking an Airbnb.
With that in mind, we wanted to take a deep dive into your options and touch on how you can maximize your Airbnb bookings.
Now, let’s get into it!
What is Airbnb?
Simply put, an “Airbnb” is a private residence made available to rent. An Airbnb could be a great alternative to a hotel stay. You can rent pretty much anything, from a room in a shared house or apartment to an oceanfront villa in some of the most exclusive locations in the world.
One of the biggest questions on a traveler’s mind when looking for vacation rentals is will I save money by booking an Airbnb and what am I giving up by not staying at a hotel? The short answer is, it depends.
Airbnbs aren’t always cheaper than traditional hotels, especially in very popular destinations at the peak of the tourist season. But you’ll usually get larger accommodations, a kitchen and more room to spread out.
In exchange, you are giving up daily housekeeping, the concierge, room service and other hotel amenities. And larger groups of travelers would almost always come out ahead by booking an Airbnb instead of several hotel rooms.
Best Credit Cards for Booking Airbnb
While there have been rumors of Airbnb partnering with a bank to release a co-branded Airbnb credit card, that hasn’t happened yet. However, there are still a number of credit cards that are great for booking Airbnb stays.
Let’s look at a few of the best credit cards that offer the options for earning and redeeming points for Airbnb stays.
Chase Sapphire Reserve
One of the most popular travel cards is the Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card which earns 3X on all travel purchases, including Airbnb. The card comes with a 50,000 Ultimate Rewards welcome bonus after you spend $4,000 in the first three months.
The card has a $300 annual travel credit, which you can use on Airbnb stays.
The card also earns 3X on dining and 1X on everything else. In addition to the travel credit, the card also comes with a $100 Global Entry and TSA Precheck application fee credit every four years.
Another benefit that helps offset the annual fee is the Priority Pass membership which includes access to a network of over 1,200 airport lounges and restaurants worldwide.
This is a great card for any frequent traveler. In addition to the generous earning rate and the travel credit, it comes with a host of other benefits, such as travel interruption insurance and Lyft Pink membership.
The annual fee is $550 and the card doesn’t have foreign transaction fees.
The card earns 2X travel and dining and 1X on everything else. We like this card because Chase’s travel category is very broad and includes everything from Airbnb purchases to ride share services to tolls.
Its annual fee is $95 and there are no foreign transaction fees.
Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card
The Chase Ink Business Preferred card comes with 100,000 Ultimate Rewards welcome bonus after you spend $15,000 in the first three months after account opening.
The Chase Ink Preferred card earns 3X on the first $150,000 in combined purchases each account anniversary year in the following categories:
- Shipping purchases
- Internet, cable and phone services
- Advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines
This is a great card for any business owner and will earn 3X on Airbnb stays.
The card doesn’t have foreign transaction fees and the annual fee is $95.
Chase Ink Business Cash Credit Card
The Chase Ink Cash might be considered an unconventional choice because it just earns 1X on all travel purchases, including Airbnb. But there’s a good reason why I am including it here.
The card comes with a $500 or 50,000 Ultimate Rewards point welcome bonus after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first three months. The card earns 5X at office supply stores and on internet, cable and cell phone bills (on the first $25,000 spent each anniversary year in combined purchases), 2X at gas stations and restaurants (on the first $25,000 spent each anniversary year in combined purchases) and 1% back on all other purchases.
So, how can you earn 5X on Airbnb stays?
The card earns 5X at office supply stores and most office supply stores (Staples and OfficeDepot/OfficeMax) sell Airbnb gift cards. So you can buy an Airbnb gift card and use it to pay for your stay, thus earning 5X.
There’s one important caveat which is that Airbnb gift cards need to be loaded into your Airbnb account before you make the reservation and then, at checkout, just choose the gift cards as a method of payment. You can’t use the gift cards on a reservation that has already been partially prepaid with a credit card as gift cards only work for brand new reservations.
While this may involve some extra steps, you won’t find any other card or method that will earn you 5X on Airbnb!
American Express Green Card
The standard welcome bonus on this card is 30,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $2,000 on purchases, but we’ve seen it go as high as 45,000 points. This is an excellent card for travelers because it has no foreign transaction fees and earns 3X on travel and restaurants and 1X on everything else.
The travel category is very broadly defined, from rideshare services to airlines to hotels to Airbnb. You can’t use Membership Rewards points for an Airbnb, but if you use the American Express Green card to pay for your stay, you’ll earn a lot of valuable points.
To help offset the annual fee of $150, the card comes with $100 CLEAR credit per calendar year and $100 LoungeBuddy Credit.
The card has no foreign transaction fees.
Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card
The Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card comes with 20,000 Go Far Rewards bonus points when you spend $1,000 in purchases in the first three months.
You’ll earn 3x points on dining, gas stations, rideshares, and transit, flights, hotels, homestays, car rentals and popular streaming services.
Go Far Rewards points are worth 1 cent each and can be redeemed for a variety of things, including travel and cashback. So you’ll earn three points back for every dollar spent on Airbnb and redeem at 1 cent per point when redeeming as cashback (which can be used toward Airbnb charges).
The card has no annual fee.
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Capital One Venture card comes with a welcome bonus of 60,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $600 in travel.
The card earns 2X on all purchases, and there are no bonus earning categories.
The “currency” you earn with this card is called miles, and you can transfer Capital One points to some airline partners. However, the card also works like a cashback card. You’ll earn 2X on every dollar spent on all purchases, including Airbnb purchases. And if you were to redeem your miles for an Airbnb, you’ll redeem at 1 cent per mile when redeeming as a travel statement credit.
One of the best travel benefits of the card includes up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA Precheck.
The annual fee is $95 and there are no foreign transaction fees.
Maximize Your Airbnb Purchases
So now that we know which credit cards to use to book an Airbnb, let’s go a step further and see how else we can maximize each booking by using a shopping portal. A shopping portal will help us extract even more value out of each dollar spent. So how can we double dip?
Delta and British Airways both have a partnership with Airbnb, so before booking your stay, navigate first to Delta’s or British Airways Airbnb portal, and you’ll be earning extra miles on each booking. The prices are the same, whether you go straight to Airbnb or through one of these portals, so why not start your search there and earn a bunch of miles in the process?
You’ll earn 1X going through the Delta portal or 2X going through the British Airways portal.
You’ll earn miles in one of these programs in addition to the points and miles you’ll earn with your credit card!
If you don’t have a Delta or British Airways account yet, open one before you start booking an Airbnb.
Another way to earn extra points on Airbnb is to purchase Airbnb gift cards at grocery stores, Target or warehouse clubs. If you have a card that earns more than 1X in these categories or a card like Chase Freedom Flex that has quarterly spending bonuses, be on the lookout for the Airbnb gift cards at these retailers.
Airbnb can be a great alternative to a hotel – you can book some truly unique properties or larger accommodations fit for a group. I like to book Airbnbs for longer stays or if I know I’d like to stay somewhere with a kitchen.
Airbnb doesn’t have its own credit card or rewards program, but there are a few good credit card options for earning points on Airbnb stays. And don’t forget to use a shopping portal to earn extra airline miles in the process.
Which credit card do you use to book your Airbnb stays?